Monday, 25 August 2008

Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce

Beet (beetroot in the UK) is a hard vegetable for me to work up much of a passion about. It does have some exciting qualities, granted - just touching a peeled beet can dye your hands or clothes a deep pink, as it may well also dye other bodily things - but beets (particularly in their pickled form) have always struck me as a functional foodstuffs, something that would exist in pickled form, stuck in the cupboard next to tins of potatoes and corned beef hash after the armageddon has wiped out all other edible things and mankind has picked all other tasty treats bare. Perhaps that point of view is why I still have a giant jar of pickled beets from my mother-in-law which has been sitting in the back of my cupboard for 2 years now.

Beets come thick and fast in our veg box delivery, and I have become an expert at grating raw beet to include into salads (it's particularly nice with grated carrot or, as my mother-in-law recently enthused to me, with grated apple, lime juice, and ginger). But other than grating it, serving it up as borscht, or turning it into apocalypse-defying pickled beets, I find it hard to see my way to finding new uses for all those beets that keep being delivered to me.

Mr A&N - and our Moro East cookbook - came up with an answer to the beet problem with a recipe for a beetroot salad with pistachio sauce that took the short
est time to put together. It was the pistachio sauce that helped bring the dish alive, pinging in mint and parsley between the citrusy lemon and orange blossom water. There are another 4 or 5 beet-based recipes in Moro East, and I don't doubt there might be need to find more inspiration in the future. The (un-grated, un-borschted, un-pickeld) beet lives to fight another day.

Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce, from Moro East
serves 4

500g young beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced

  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

For the pistachio sauce:
  • 100g shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh-leaf parsley
  • 1 small palm-full finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 7 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tbs water
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water

  1. Make the pistachio sauce first: finely chop the pistachios either by hand or in a food processor. Mix all the other ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss together the beetroot and parsley leaves, then dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the beetroot out on a platter, then spoon the pistachio sauce on top.
  4. Serve immediately.


Kake Pugh said...

That does sound good!

Interesting things I've done with beetroot include beetroot risotto and beetroot cake. You can also bake them, then peel them, then puree them with e.g. ricotta or blue cheese, and serve them as a side dish.

Bolt said...

Usually i take beetroot as a salad with carrot,cucumber,onion in my lunch in the whole winter.It's very useful to our health.Now i will try to apply that method.Thnks.

Pille said...

You cannot beat a good beat borscht, but this salad looks pretty - the pistachio sauce sounds really interesting!

Sylvie said...

For years and years I thought I hated beetroot as I had only ever had it pickled. Then one day I was invited for a meal and the dish contained roasted beetroot, which I really liked, I've never looked back since, but I still don't like it pickled. Your way looks great, too.

Beth said...

How weird, my colleague and I were just discussing Beetroot Salads. This looks amazing - will pass the recipe onto her.

Cynthia said...

I am yet to give beets a second chance. :)

Kate / Kajal said...

Interesting flavours here. Never thought beets n pistachios went together. I'm sure it tastes divine.

jasmine said...

I've never been overly fond of beetroot, but have developed a taste for them if they are roasted. I also tend to prefer the golds to the purples. That said, I made a beetroot hummous a while back which was quite good.


Jeanne said...

Now that's an idea! Would never have thought of that combo. I, too, am rather ambivalent abotu beetroot. I know for sure that I DON'T like the pickled stuff, but like it roasted or grated into salad. Might be time to branch out :)

Lisa said...

I happen to adore beets. What a lovely way to enjoy them.